The brutal killing of my family members by the Taliban in Daikundi, Afghanistan

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By Abdul Rauf Hakimi | GENOCIDE WATCH

I, Abdul Rauf Hakimi, call upon the United Nations, human rights organizations, civil society groups, and the United States and Australian Governments to condemn and take action to investigate the mass atrocity crimes in Sewak Shebar village in Daikundi province, Afghanistan. The tragic killing of my family members is part of the Taliban’s genocidal campaign against the Hazaras.

On 24 November 2022, eight Hazaras, including women and children, were shot dead by the Taliban in Daikundi province, Afghanistan.

On 24 November 2022, eight members of my family, including women and children, were murdered by the Taliban. Taliban forces killed each one in the mass shooting with over 60 bullets in their bodies. It was impossible to do ritual body washing of the deceased. Their bodies were wrapped in shrouds and buried in soaked blood. The victims include the following three children, a woman, and four civilian men:

1. Aminullah Mali Hakimi, an ethnic Hazara, 63 years old, was my elder brother. He is survived by his wife, two sons, and four daughters, aged between 6 and 27 years.

2. Ibrahim Yaqubi, an ethnic Hazara, 28 years old, was my nephew (my sister’s son).

3. Mohammad Alam Jafari, an ethnic Hazara, 45 years old, was still alive after the shooting, but was killed with a blow on the head from the butt of a gun that sliced his head open.

4. Mehdi Jafari, an ethnic Hazara, 14 years old, son of Mohammad Alam, was killed by the Taliban.

5. Shir Mohammad Jafari, an ethnic Hazara, 36 years old.

6. Mohammad Jafari, an ethnic Hazara, 11 years old son of Shir Mohammad Jafari.

7. Amir Jafari, an ethnic Hazara 40 years old.

8. Enayatullah Jafari, an ethnic Hazara, 12 years old, son of Amir Jafari.

9. Marwari Jafari, 38 years old, an ethnic Hazara, wife of Amir Jafari, was wounded from direct shots and seriously injured.

On the morning of 24 November 2022, over 200 armed Taliban forces – consisting of local Taliban and Taliban from other provinces, and armed with light and heavy weapons, including Kalashnikovs, rockets, tanks, and grenades – surrounded the house of Amir Jafari. Marwari, the wife of Amir Jafari, witnessed the first shot at her home during the Morning Prayer and saw hundreds of Taliban forces around their house. They were given no chance to engage in discussion with these forces. The armed operation was unexpected and had no conceivable justification.

Amir Jafari was involved in a land dispute with another family in the village. Land disputes are endemic in Afghanistan among families, tribes, and ethnicities. Those with whom Mr. Jafari was in dispute used their ties to the Taliban to prompt the Taliban to take military action against Mr. Jafari and his family. Months before, the Taliban had summoned the Jafari brothers to the provincial center concerning the land dispute. The last instruction from the Taliban was to ask the Jafaris to remain in their village until further notice.

The presence of large Taliban military forces created a dangerous environment for all villagers. The Jafaris were fearful for their lives and locked themselves in their home. Aminullah Mali Hakimi, my brother, a well-known elder in the village, was a longtime local contact for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). He was a candidate from Daikundi province for the 2018 parliamentary elections.

My brother came to the site to mediate with the Taliban. He assured the Taliban that his nephew and their cousins were harmless and unarmed. He asked the Taliban forces to take his nephews and their cousins for investigation at the provincial capital and leave the village with armed forces as they had caused fear and distress to the villagers.

My nephew, Ibrahim Yaqubi, staying at the house of his cousins, the Jafaris, was handed to the Taliban as a mediation measure for investigation. He was the first person to be shot. The Taliban started a mass shooting and killed him on the spot with over 40 bullets. My brother, Aminullah Mali, ran towards the victim to see if he was alive. Mali was shot from behind in a burst of fire and killed immediately. Mali only intended to mediate and prevent the emergence of harmful tension in the village.

The three Jafari brothers and their three children, all in their homes, were brought out and shot dead one by one. Anyone who resisted and tried to run away was hit with more bullets. After the massacre of all eight individuals, the family home was rocketed and demolished. All their belongings, including their animals, crops, and food, were destroyed. As more people arrived on the scene, including my two other nephews, they were captured and chained by the Taliban forces. Five men are still in Taliban custody, and one is missing. We do not know their whereabouts. No one can visit the de facto authorities in the provincial center, fearing imprisonment and killing.

My second and only living brother is now on the run with his family. I am fearful for their lives, and for the lives of Mali’s family, my nephew’s surviving families, and the family members of the Jafaris who have lost everything. My remaining family members cannot survive under the Taliban regime, especially since the news of the Taliban massacre has broken out on international media and the situation in the village is very tense, insecure and unpredictable.

There is no rule of law in Afghanistan, no due process, no legitimate authorities, and no transparent institutions to which my family and I could make complaints, pursue demands for justice, or hold the Taliban forces accountable for their brutal massacre. Land disputes are not typically resolved by mass killings. Therefore, it seems overwhelmingly likely that the ethnic identity of my extended family was the reason for the heinous attack in Daikundi that murdered civilians, including children, in such brutal ways.

I am seeking help from the UN, US, Canada, the EU, and Middle Eastern countries to bring my remaining family members to safety. I am the only immediate family member in a safe place, and I need help from the international community to prevent another massacre against my family members and my village.

While the corpses of my family members are still bleeding in their graves from the Taliban’s bullets, I request in the strongest language possible that the international community, human rights organizations, and civil society groups around the world take the following effective steps to bring justice for my family:

1. I respectfully request the international community and human rights organizations to condemn the mass atrocity crimes against Hazara families in Daikundi province.

2. I call upon them to act immediately to pressure the Taliban authorities to release my two nephews and their three cousins from Taliban custody that could lead to their murder.

3. I call upon the United Nations Office of Richard Bennett, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights in Afghanistan, to investigate the murders of my family members by Taliban forces.

As a helpless surviving family member, I seek justice for the massacre of my family.

Abdul Rauf Hakimi Melbourne, Australia 30 November 2022

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